I Am Clever

alec_towser


A Fine Line - Between Chaos and Creation

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy; I don't mind, I think they're crazy...


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UNIT!100 - 094. Independence.
I Am Clever
alec_towser
Title: Victim of Villainy
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Mike Yates, Third Doctor, Brigadier
Prompt: 094. Independence.
Word Count: 3115
Rating: K+
Summary: Mike had told the Doctor he was alright after his processing by the BOSS was broken… but he wasn’t; not really.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own OCs, should I create any for these stories. Dialogue and corresponding scenes are lifted directly from the serial (Episodes 5 and 6, specifically).
Author’s Note: Set during/after The Green Death. This serial showed us the beginning of Mike Yates’ demise, but didn’t really go into depth at all as to how the events affected him at the time (the next view we have of Mike is in the novel Deep Blue, set six months later). My goal is to get more inside Mike’s head during the serial (hence why some scenes from the serial have been novelized) and then show the immediate aftermath, bridging the gap between the serial and the novel. There is also a reference to the Big Finish audio drama The Rings of Ikiria, but it basically explains itself.

See end of work for more notes.


———

Mike Yates had started on this venture as an undercover agent for UNIT - a chance to play spy, as it were. He was ‘the man from the Ministry’ undercover at Global Chemicals, and did it ever feel good to get one over on someone as unpleasant as Stevens.

Of course, once he’d been caught by the security guards after helping the Doctor escape, everything changed. He’d been taken up to the top floor, to a room filled with monitors and buttons and screens, and a loud booming voice coming from one such monitor that called itself ‘the BOSS’. Stevens was there, too, smirking nastily as Mike tried to get loose from his guards in what proved to be a fruitless exercise. He was soon strapped to a chair, and a large headset put on his head. An electronic pulsing started coming through the headphones on his ears, and BOSS began speaking. Mike didn’t remember much after that.

———

He remembered leaving Global Chemicals - he was driving towards the Nuthutch. BOSS had told him he needed to go there. As Mike walked, he realized: his mind had been a jumble of thoughts before. How had he ever functioned before BOSS had come along and put it all in order? Now everything was clear - he just needed to obey BOSS’ orders. A stray thought came along fighting against that mindset, trying to remind him that he valued his independence; letting BOSS have this kind of control made him little more than a slave. However, the newly-ordered part of his mind crushed that thought and refocused on the road ahead. He had a job to do.

Once Mike had arrived, he got inside the Nuthutch with little to no difficulty; he was a trusted UNIT officer, after all, and no one suspected any kind of foul play. He cautiously crept toward the lab, BOSS directing him how to get there. Once he arrived, he found that it was empty, so BOSS instructed him to hide behind a desk and wait until the Doctor showed up.

As it turned out, Mike didn’t have to wait long; the Doctor came in a few minutes later, muttering something about ‘serendipity’. At this point, though, Mike had much more pressing matters - BOSS was telling him to kill the Doctor. By now, that small part of his subconscious was mentally railing against the monstrous machine that had taken over his head more than ever. He didn’t want to kill the Doctor, but he wasn’t able to fight off the commands that BOSS was sending him to get up from his hiding place and confront the Doctor.

The Doctor initially looked pleased to see him. “Mike! You don’t know how glad I am to see you. How did you get away?”

“They let me go,” he answered calmly, though his mind finished that sentence with words he wasn’t allowed to say: …as a slave to the BOSS.

“But why?” The Doctor seemed confused, and just a little suspicious. Mike cheered inwardly. Yes, Doctor! You can tell there’s something wrong! Help me!

Despite all his efforts to the contrary, however, he was unable to stop the words that came out of his mouth next: “To kill you.” He pulled out his revolver. “You do see that I have to kill you…don’t you?”

“Gently, Mike; fight it,” the Doctor urged. Mike wanted to shout But I AM trying to fight it! Why can’t I stop? I’m going to shoot you, Doctor!, but what came out instead was a strained, “It is…necessary…to kill you.”

“No, it is not necessary,” the Doctor repeated firmly. “Your orders are false; do you understand me? False!”

Just then, the Brigadier walked in, unaware of what was taking place. At that moment, BOSS decided to modify its orders slightly - Mike was now to kill both the Doctor and the Brigadier. The supercomputer seemed to take some sort of perverse satisfaction at feeling the young man’s anguish at being ordered to commit this heinous act.

Mike still couldn’t stop himself; he ordered the Brigadier to stay back and not to move, telling them that he had his instructions. Mike was in mental agony - he was being ordered to kill the two men he most respected in the world, but he was fighting this order as hard as he could. He knew the Doctor could tell, too - he was so desperate at this point to not carry out these instructions.

Just as the Brigadier was roaring at Mike to tell them where his orders were coming from, the Doctor cut in, telling the Brigadier to be quiet. “Now, Mike, it is necessary for me to show you something.”

This seemed to confuse the BOSS and its hold on his mind. “Necessary?” Mike repeated slowly.

“Yes. For increased efficiency.” The Doctor looked at him evenly. “Now, I’m going to take something from my pocket.” He moved his hand slowly downward to his jacket pocket as he spoke, finding something inside. “Now, it won’t harm you,” he reassured the suddenly silent young man. “It won’t harm you.”

Mike could only watch, stupefied as the Doctor reached down into his velvet-lined pocket and pulled something out. …a giant rock?

“Watch it, Mike.” The Doctor held up what Mike could now tell was a large blue crystal, approximately the size of his fist. “Watch it carefully, Mike. Strange stones; these Metebelis sapphires…”

As the Doctor continued to speak slowly and calmly, Mike began to see the crystal glow. He tried to close his eyes against it as it got brighter and brighter, but the Doctor’s voice compelled him to look at it: “Watch it; look deep into the blue light.”

By this point, Mike was feeling distinctly uncomfortable and was twisting his head around as if in pain. Or was the BOSS the one who was feeling uncomfortable? He couldn’t tell.

The Doctor’s voice continued to drone on, but Mike wasn’t really aware of it anymore: “Soon, your mind will be locked onto the crystalline pattern, and the neural paths of your brain will be swept clean, and you will be free.”

By this point, the blue glow had gotten unbearable, so by the time the glow suddenly cut out, Mike cried out in pain, clutching his head and collapsed insensate to the floor, no longer able to cope with the mental strain.

———

When Mike woke up, it was a slow process. Everything was fuzzy, and he thought he could make out voices speaking above him. “…he’s a trained soldier. He’s been taught to withstand that sort of thing.”

“Well, if he hadn’t tried so hard, he’d have come in shooting. I’d have been a dead man by now. You too, probably.”

With a groan, Mike fully woke up, finding himself looking at the ceiling. “Wha… where am I?” He didn’t recognize the room he was in.

“You’re in the Nuthutch.” The Doctor walked over, crouching next to Mike’s prone figure.

“What?”

“Professor Jones’ house,” the Scientific Advisor clarified.

Still breathing heavily from the shock of the whole experience, Mike slowly propped himself up on his elbow, rubbing at his head with the other. “That blue light…”

“Yes, well, you’ll be all right now, old chap.” The Doctor smiled as he patted Mike’s shoulder.

“Well, Captain Yates, you’re well out of Global Chemicals,” the Brigadier added, trying to reassure the clearly-shaken man.

“I’m afraid he’s not,” the Doctor said grimly. Mike looked up at him in surprise. What?

“I’m going to ask you to go back,” he continued. “Do you think you feel up to it?”

Mike swallowed convulsively, trying to get his breathing and racing heart back under control. “…right as rain, Doctor.”

“I’m sorry to have to ask you to do this, but there’s some information that I simply must have.”

Mike nodded slowly, trying to compose himself and listen to what the Doctor had in mind. He could already tell he wasn’t going to like this.

———

It turned out Mike’s instincts were right - he didn’t like it at all. He’d lied to Stevens and told him the Doctor was dead, then attempted to bluff his way out of having to potentially kill Jo in the future.

Though he looked calm as he made his report, Mike was anything but at the moment. Stevens didn’t seem to be buying his ruse, and for a moment, Mike thought the man might call him out on it. Thankfully, all Stevens had done was send for another of his lackeys - a Mr. James - to watch out for him, then had left the room himself.

Once Stevens had left and Mike was alone with James, Mike quickly moved and used the Metebelis crystal on James to break his hypnosis and find out some information about Global Chemicals’ upcoming computer-driven takeover. However, a high-pitched wail had gone off shortly afterward, killing James, and Stevens had reappeared with security guards in tow, who moved quickly and dragged Mike off to a holding cell before Mike had a chance to flee or protest.

———

Mike had been escorted off to a dimly-lit cell for safe-keeping until Stevens had use for him - ironically, the same one that he’d helped the Doctor to escape from earlier. Unlike the Doctor, though, Stevens was apparently taking no chances with him. He’d been strung up by his wrists with a set of chains that hung from the ceiling, just high enough so that his feet were barely touching the floor. This had left Mike unable to do much but attempt to support some of his own weight, which hadn’t helped him out much when the security guards decided to have some fun for a little while.

They’d taken turns punching him in the ribs, not hard enough to break anything, but enough that he’d definitely feel it later. They’d laughed when Mike hadn’t been able to fight back for very long, enjoying the frustrated look on his face when he’d finally just given up and stopped trying to fend them off. They’d left shortly after, most likely due to Global Chemicals needing to keep him in good condition as a hostage or some similar reason.

Some indeterminate amount of time later, Mike had long since exhausted every method he could think of for trying to free himself, and found himself wishing that he’d taken some of those Escapology classes Jo talked about. They certainly seemed to help her out when she needed it. All his efforts had gotten him were chafed wrists, raw and sore from trying to work himself loose while trying not to hang his full body weight from them.

Just then, Stevens and the two guards returned to take him away for ‘re-processing’. Weakened by the strain of holding himself up in such an awkward fashion, Mike nearly collapsed when the guards undid the chains from his wrists. He was forced to stumble along much more quickly than he’d have liked, slumped between the two guards as they walked briskly back to the lift.

When the lift had come into Mike’s line of sight, he had inwardly panicked. He didn’t want to go back to being a mindless drone again; not after the horrible things BOSS had nearly made him do before. So once the doors opened and the guards moved to get inside, Mike’s fear had lent him strength; he shoved the guards into the lift with Stevens just before the doors closed. He stood there for a moment, unable to believe he had just managed to pull that off, then remembered why he had done it and took off as quickly as he was able, looking for an exit.

———

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur; Mike vaguely remembered running on foot away from Global Chemicals, warning the Brigadier and the Doctor of the danger, watching the factory explode, and finally, having Jo announce her engagement to Professor Jones and subsequent departure from UNIT.

Only that evening, when he was back in his quarters and caught a glimpse of himself in his mirror - disheveled, exhausted, covered in dirt and grime from his escape - did it finally sink in to Mike what had happened; what he’d very nearly done. The thought of it very nearly made him sick to his stomach.

He’d pulled a gun on his commanding officer. Not only that, but he’d done it to the Doctor as well; threatening to kill them both. If that wasn’t grounds for a court-martial and immediate dismissal, he didn’t know what was.

But even the potential loss of his career aside… he’d threatened to kill the two men he most respected, probably losing their trust in the meantime, and that alone made him feel far worse.

Mike didn’t get a lot of sleep that night.

———

He didn’t sleep well for the next few weeks, either - plagued by nightmares and horrible potential futures of what might have happened running through his brain: images of everyone at UNIT’s disappointment in him and the rubbish job he’d made of going undercover; the Brigadier telling him that he should be RTU’d back to Fort George (as if that hadn’t hurt enough the first time, even if the Brig had only been pretending for the purposes of fooling an enemy) or posted someplace far away from UNIT, never to be seen again; even Jo and Professor Jones got in on the disappointment and mockery as well, telling him that he wasn’t worth loving - after all, who would want someone as weak-minded as he was?

The worst one of all, though, was the ghost of BOSS’ mocking laughter in his head, calling him weak and pathetic, telling Mike that he wasn’t strong enough to resist its control, and all it would have taken was a mere moment more to have him actually commit the deed.

At that image, Mike usually would wake with a cry and sometimes also be physically ill. He couldn’t help it; although he knew that the computer was gone, he could still hear its voice constantly, telling him that he was useless and a liability to everyone around him.

Mike was distracted and morose a lot more often these days, but tried not to let it bleed over into his work as much as he could. He had also stopped eating more than the bare minimum, as he found that trying to keep anything down these days was more effort than it was worth. He knew Benton had noticed his abrupt change of behaviour, but changed the subject whenever the Sergeant tried to bring it up. Mike knew that at this rate, it was only a matter of time before he would become potentially ill, but he almost didn’t care any more. Maybe if he died, the world would be better without him.

Benton wasn’t so easily swayed, however, and mentioned the Captain’s odd behaviour to the Brigadier. The Brigadier sighed. “You’re not the first person to tell me this, Sergeant, but thank you for bringing this to my attention anyway. I’ll speak to him.”

Not one to wait around, the Brigadier had Mike sent up to his office as soon as he was able to. When the Captain arrived, the Brigadier could see it was easily as bad as Benton had said. Yates’ face was pale and drawn, and he had dark circles under his eyes. On top of that, he looked distinctly uncomfortable being there in front of him.

“Good heavens, man, you look like death warmed over!” the Brigadier exclaimed, briefly forgetting about formalities in the sight of this clear physical neglect. Yates simply stood there at attention, not moving from the doorway, not responding to the outburst in any way.

Finally, he spoke. “Was there something you wanted to see me about, Sir?”

“As a matter of fact, there is. Would you care to explain your behaviour as of late, Captain?” The Brigadier looked him in the eyes, seeing the exhaustion there.

“Not particularly, Sir.” Mike shook his head, breaking eye contact.

“Really? Because people seem to be awfully concerned about the odd turn you’ve taken lately, Captain. And,” he overrode Mike when the Captain opened his mouth in what looked like a protest, carrying on: “It’s not just Benton that’s telling me these things, either. You may not realize it, Yates, but many of the enlisted men look up to you, and as such, care about your well-being. And if they’re concerned, then I’m concerned. Now, I say again: care to tell me what’s going on?”

Mike’s shoulders slumped. “To tell the truth, Sir, I don’t really know what’s wrong with me. Nothing has felt right since the business with Global Chemicals, and at this point, I’m not sure that I care anymore. About anything. I know that I should, but I just can’t seem to.”

After a pause, the Brigadier answered simply, “I see. Well, in this sort of circumstance, there’s really only one option.”

“…dismissal, Sir?”

That seemed to throw the Brigadier slightly. “What? No! Of course not. I was going to suggest that you get a course of pathological assessment done.”

“You mean, see a psychiatrist? But I’m not mad!” Mike protested.

The Brigadier shook his head. “You may not be mad, Yates, but your head’s not exactly where it needs to be. Whatever is going on in there is affecting how you work, and that’s no help to anyone right now. What you need is to see someone who can help sort out what the problem is. I’d have suggested that you speak to the Doctor first, but he seems to have disappeared again.”

“Seems to be doing that a lot these days,” Mike muttered.

If the Brigadier heard that comment, he didn’t let on. He continued: “If you won’t take my suggestion, then I’ll have to make it an order, Captain. I won’t have my men going around in such a state. It’s not good for morale, but more importantly, it’s not good for your health. Get an assessment done, then take some leave.”

Mike tried to argue. “Leave? But, Sir, I…”

“No ‘buts’, Captain Yates. You get yourself sorted out; I’ll write you off for compassionate leave once the assessment is over, and you’re off-duty effective immediately. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” Mike said resignedly. He saluted, then left the office to go get changed into a set of civilian attire and make a phone call to the psychiatrist the Brig had recommended. He didn’t know if it would do much good, but at this point, he figured things couldn’t get any worse. He laughed bitterly - it was hard to believe this had all stemmed from one supposedly ‘simple’ undercover assignment.

———

Notes: Yes, I’m aware that in the episode Mike was totally brainwashed and likely wouldn’t have been reacting the way I portrayed him, but when I first saw the scene, that was the way I pictured him. As for the part about him being beaten up, that doesn't appear in either the episode or the novelization, but a line on the Doctor Who Guide in the episode synopsis described him as being 'chained up and abused', so I went with it.

Also, in Deep Blue it says that Mike was fine until three months later, but I've written him as being affected right from the get-go, because honestly, I find it hard to believe that he'd just feel fine after everything that happened to him.

(I'm surprised this turned out to be this long... I guess Mike wanted his own long story after finding out that I wrote WITN for Benton.)


X-posted to FF.net, Teaspoon, AO3, and unit_family.

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